One thing I find over and over again is that Parents don’t seem to “get” their teens and tweens, and vice versa. There seems to be miscommunication going on. A teen or tween misbehaves and doesn’t understand why the parent is upset, while the parent doesn’t understand why their teen/tween can’t follow direction after being told several times. Often it’s not because the child in question wants to misbehave, and it’s not because the Parent is a ” bad” parent.
It’s the approach. We as Parents and caregivers need to take the negativity out of it when we talk to our children, even when disciplining. For example, try the sandwich method: First give some positive feedback: “I was so proud of you when you got that 100 on your spelling test a few weeks ago. Second give the bad news: If you can’t seem to find time to do your homework and your marks keep reflecting that, we will have to limit your time on playing video games. Now the rest of the sandwich: We really believe you can make better use of your time and get back on track to get good marks on your homework. If you need our help, just ask. We are here for you!
Here’s another of my thoughts on this:
“It is so important to be a role model to your teen! It is not only what we say and how well we listen, but how we live our own lives. That means it does matter how gracious we are, how kind we are, whether we are generous of spirit and eager to not hold grudges or be petty. It does matter what we say, but often it matters just as much on how we say it. Can we cushion a criticism with some sweet honey? Can we wait until the right moment to say something personal when no one else is listening? It all matters!”
Yes, all of the above does take practice. Learning to control our rage, our disappointment, our anger and instead finding ways to speak to our kids at the right moment, with supportive yet realistic reactions to their behaviors is almost an art form. But then again, helping a kid grow up successfully is like being a great artist. Every remark, every activity we do with them, every hug we give them are all the next tiny strokes in turning out a marvelous human being! Isn’t the time and effort worth it?